Monday, May 2, 2011

Pittsburgh Edition

I know this is super late, but we've had some extenuating circumstances here in Alabama... that's for a future post! Last weekend, I visited some of my favorite people in the world, the Gougler clan! (You can get a glimpse of them here...) Amy, a frequent mention in this blog, was my college roommate for 2.5 years, and her husband, JP, is one of my good friends. They recently relocated from Houston to Pittsburgh, so naturally I had to see what this was all about.


Travel proved to be a challenge this trip. From Huntsville, I had a connecting flight in Memphis, which was delayed... and then CANCELLED. Words can't express the disappointment, and although I made a new friend (thanks for those vodka-waters and the Arrested Development quoting matches, Garrett!), the airline one-upped themselves by sticking all of us stranded travelers in a sketchy hotel. Delta received a strongly worded email from me this week, and I'm expecting a nice, fat voucher in return.

For someone who took 4 years of German in high school, this Spanish phrase was a bit alarming at first glance.
But once I made it to Pennsylvania, I was greeted by my favorite hosts- Amy, JP and Maggie! Their new home was absolutely wonderful, warm and inviting- just as I knew it would be.


One of my favorite things about Amy's family is that whether we're doing something new and exciting, or just relaxing and hanging out, it's never any WORK. It's always PLAY! The day I finally got into town, we caught up with each other and watched Harry Potter, and it was absolutely perfect. Saturday morning began with a trip to the Strip District for some exploring and brunch, followed by a bus tour of the city. The tour was great- super informative and not at all boring- and allowed us to hop on and off as we pleased. Which meant we needed to stop at the casino... where Amy absolutely BANKED on penny slots! We drank to her success and hopped back on our bus, stopped for some beer at the Hofbrauhaus (so much fun!) and did a little shopping before heading home. We had picked up some fresh produce at one of the markets in the Strip District, which meant a delicious dinner when we got back... after a well-documented trip to the grocery store for some last-minute necessities.

Quadrupling your initial amount of gambling money? We'll drink to that!
Sunday began with Easter services, followed by the traditional Gougler/Timmer + Andrea Easter Egg Hunt. It was very successful for all involved, including Maggie, and proved to be entertaining for longer than expected, thanks to some straggling eggs. The rest of the day was relaxing and low-key, and included a monster walk with Maggie and another round of Harry Potter, sprinkled with some pre-Royal Wedding coverage. It was an absolutely perfect Easter in every sense. The next day was wonderful as well- even though Amy had to work from home, we still made time to play! We took an excursion for lunch, discussed work the way we used to discuss our classes, and just got to hang out. Every time we visit, it's like no time has passed since the previous meetup- we just pick up right where we left off. Amy and I might be polar opposites in some ways, but I think that's really what makes our friendship so unique and special.

I'm 7 months older and 7x more immature. And it's love.

This of course, means that our visit was over entirely too soon... yet before we knew it, it was time to head back to the airport and leave for home. All in all, we declared it an amazingly successful weekend... and that's not even considering the...


It was determined pretty early on that it's hard to fully experience Pittsburgh without the meat. And since I was on vacation, and needed the full Steeler-nation experience, I decided that my veganism should be on vacation as well. What began with a ham-and-cheese croissant ended with a roast beef sandwich from Primanti Brothers, and whoaaaaa.... I've never had anything like it! A Pittsburgh staple, the sandwich was full of beefiness, cheesiness, and my personal favorite, FRIES. Amy had a turkey version... and we killed them! They were a delicious treat that Monday, and a perfect ending to my weekend of being an omnivore.

So. Delicious.
I don't know if it's evident by the length of the PLAY section, but it's safe to say that my weekend in Pittsburgh was absolutely wonderful! Ames and JP- thank you both again for being some of the most enjoyable people in the world to visit.

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